TV Shows

SDCC Interview: THE MAGICIANS’ Showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara

In TV, all the magic starts with the showrunners as proved by THE MAGICIANS showrunners Sera Gamble and John McNamara, who definitely have sh*t planned for the fourth season.

Sera Gamble and John McNamara, the showrunners for Syfy’s The Magicians, spent some time with us to discuss the show and tease what season four will have. One of the things they opened up about is the fact that they’ll be mixing both source material and original content together.

“We’ve got a lot of material in all three books,” said Gamble. “But there’s especially a treasure trove of material in book three. But especially because we start the season with most of our characters having no idea who the are, we have a lot of stuff to play with that is not in the books.” Using original content on an adapted series can be tricky, but this team has managed to do well so far, and they understand that, but they are writers as well and it’s in their nature to create. “So kind of business as usual for us, which is to use the source material as inspirations and do greatest hits and then also go off on lots of tangents and lots of characters.”

With the fandom on social media, it can be good or bad or both, and in this case, McNamara knows that it’s likely better to stay off of it longer than to stay on. “I can’t speak for Sera, but…I don’t pay attention. I can’t. I will when it’s all gone. I’ll go back and I’ll read all the really mean tweets. Some of the good reviews,” he explains. “We really try to keep social down to about once every ten minutes.”

As far as the writing process goes for the writing team, Sera wanted to make clear to the team what they were able to write and what she didn’t want from them. “We right away went into the room and told the writers they were under no obligation to try to replicate anything in particular about season three. I think that’s where you start to get in trouble, is when you try to repeat your greatest hits. So I feel like season four is interesting in a different way. We still experiment with form and we still get bored easily, but the kind of creative ideas that people brought in, for me, they’re a little bit psychologically even deeper than in season three.” 

When asked about themes for this upcoming season, they didn’t want to give it all away, but they did note one theme that they’ll be hitting on. “There’s several. But one of them is that fascists don’t always know they’re fascists,” said Gamble. “This is the season where the library, who are master magicians, they’re educated, they’re well-meaning, they’re incredibly neutral, they have a sort of prime directive about messing with history because they collect and record history, but now they are charged with controlling the flow of magic in all of the worlds, and very quickly, they start to step in a little bit more. And we can understand why they would do that, it’s necessary to keep people safe and the keep the books safe, but that’s a slippery slope. I think pretty much right away, that’s a slippery slope for them.”

The theme isn’t original, but we know the writers will find a way to make it original and keep us interested. The writers also have new creatures they’ll be introducing the viewers to, and one of them John teases is an aquatic creature, which should be interesting, in a good and humorous way. “He’s the lord of all the freshwater aquatic creatures, but he calls himself ‘Lord Fresh.'” 

As for returning characters, Sera and John both strongly hinted at the return of Felicia Day’s Poppy character as well as Adam DiMarco’s Todd. “Todd has a ton of fun stuff,” exclaimed John.

On a more lighter note, someone asked them if they could do a crossover with another series, Sera thought the Donald Glover series Atlanta would be cool to do a crossover with. However, John thought another show would need a magical crossover more. “I would say Handmaid’s Tale. That would be hilarious. Those people need to laugh!”

By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.